I wrote earlier this year about a beloved aunt who was involved in a road crash. She was hit by a jeepney driven recklessly as she was walking; on her way to church one early morning. She was in the hospital for weeks before she finally passed away. It was painful to see her in her hospital bed, unconscious but fighting for her life.
No, I don’t feel anger anymore whenever I recall the incident and note that if the driver were just careful then she would still have been alive today. I feel sad. I feel sad and frustrated that despite all the efforts a lot of people have put into road safety programs and projects, there seems to be little in terms of the reduction of recklessness on the roads. The recent weeks, for example, are full of reports of crashes that claimed the lives of many and injured more. These often involved trucks that mowed down everyone in their paths. Then, you see a lot of motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic, many ride like stuntmen and without regard for life, limb or property as long as they can get away with it.
Additional laws in the form of local ordinances or Republic Acts will not be effective in reducing road crashes and the death toll it has brought upon us. It is the enforcement, the implementation of these rules and regulations. Rules and regulations are just words that, if not acted upon, do not have any effectiveness. And so we get to the root of the problem and that is enforcement; the lacking if not missing ingredient in the road safety broth that is necessary to save lives and create a safer environment for all. Does it deserve more attention and resources from our national government and local authorities who are in-charge of most of the enforce aspects of road safety? I do think so. Statistics on traffic-related deaths, injuries and damage to property compare strongly with if not exceed those attributed to drug abuse. When you purposely drive recklessly and crash into another vehicle or person, one is practically murderous. You also destroy the lives of people related to the person you kill or injure (e.g., that person could be the sole breadwinner of a family). The comparisons and examples are plenty and I am sure a lot of people have their own personal experiences about this as well as their opinions. For now though, let us reflect on those who perished from road crashes and perhaps think not about “what could have been” but instead of “what can be done.”
We conclude the month of October with the following recommended readings:
- Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach, An ITE Recommended Practice, 2010
- Model Design Manual for Living Streets, 2011
- Smart Transportation Guidebook, Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities, 2008
While these are guidelines and manuals developed and published in the United States, the principles and much of the content and context are very much applicable here.
As an additional reference, here is the latest version of functional classifications for streets that is supposed to be context-sensitive:
- Stamatiadis, N., A. Kirk, D. Hartman, J. Jasper, S. Wright, M. King, and R. Chellman. 2017. An Expanded Functional Classification System for Highways and Streets. Pre- publication draft of NCHRP Research Report 855. Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C.
I posted on a road safety-related page and suddenly there’s this guy who pounces on the post and delivers what he probably thought was an amusing commentary. From his posts, it was clear that he was one of those hard-core cyclists. I don’t want to use the word ‘fanatic’ but that is how many people would probably see him given his posts, comments and stand regarding cycling and safety. He also seems to revel in his claim to be a victim but the way he states this won’t really give him as much sympathy as he probably hopes to get. You have be more engaging and diplomatic if you want to be taken seriously whether as a stakeholder, a government official or an expert.
Everybody is certainly entitled to their own opinion (but not their own facts and that’s another story for another article that’s transport-related) about how roads can become safer for all. I say all because it is not only a concern of cyclists and motorists but pedestrians as well. Everyone, regardless of age, gender, economic status, etc. is vulnerable. And the only way we can succeed is if there is a collective effort that is fact/evidence-based and structured or organized. Cooperation is vital among various sectors and we must accept that there are many approaches, ways by which we can achieve the objective of safer roads and transport. Going hardline on one’s stand and trying to impose this on others will not get us anywhere.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) recently shared the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) Manual that was the product of the collaboration among government and the academe. While the date appearing on the cover is October 2017, this manual was actually completed in April 2017. [Click the image of the cover below for the link where you can download the manual.]
I don’t know exactly why the DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were hesitant in releasing this manual. Perhaps they wanted to pilot test it first on a city? Yup, this manual has never been tested yet so we don’t really know whether it will work as a tool for planning public transportation.
With all the opposition to the government’s PUV Modernization Program, the DOTr and the LTFRB should be piloting the program first and show a proof of concept to dispel doubts about the program. The same essentially applies to this transport route plan manual. Only once these are piloted would we know first hand its flaws and allow us to revise or fine tune them. I would suggest that both the modernization program and the manual be piloted in cities that are perceived or claim to have strong local governance. Davao City comes to mind and perhaps Iloilo City. Can you think about other cities where the program and/or manual can be piloted?
Here’s a nice article that has a link to a study conducted at the University of California-Davis written by one of the authors of the study:
Clewlow, R.R. (2017) “New Research on How Ride-Hailing Impacts Travel Behavior” in Planetizen, October 11, 2017.
And here’s an article about that same study:
Bliss, L. (2017) “The Ride-Hailing Effect: More Cars, More Trips, More Miles ” in Citylab, October 12, 2017.
As usual, I am posting this for reference not just for my readers but for myself and my students who are currently doing research on ridesharing/ride-hailing in the Philippines.
There was a transport strike today mainly involving jeepney drivers and operators who are protesting the proposed Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization project of the Philippine government. In this age of fake news, there’s also a lot of misinformation going around that gets shared even by well meaning people who probably just wanted to have it represent their opinion about the matter. Unfortunately, this only spreads more misinformation. Nagagatungan pa ng mga alanganing komento.
Following is the reply of the DOTr from their Facebook account:
“PAUNAWA | Isa-isahin natin para malinaw:
1. Hindi tataas sa P20 ang pasahe. Saan nakuha ng PISTON ang numerong ito?
2. Hindi lugi ang driver/operator. Kikita pa nga sila. Bakit?
– May 43% fuel savings ang mga Euro-4 compliant na sasakyan
– Mas maraming pasahero ang maisasakay dahil mula sa 16 persons seating capacity, magiging 22 na.
– Low to zero maintenance cost dahil bago ang unit
3. Hindi rin totoo na hindi kami nagsagawa ng mga konsultasyon.
Ang DOTr at LTFRB ay nagsagawa ng serye ng konsultasyon at dayalogo kasama ang mga PUV operaytor at mga tsuper sa buong bansa, kabilang dito ang mga organisadong grupo ng transportasyon at ang mga lokal na pamahalaaan.
Ang mga konsultasyong iyon ay isinagawa bago, habang, at pagkatapos malagdaan ang DO 2017-011. Sa katunayan, ang konsultasyon para sa paggawa ng mga local public transport route plan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan at ng mga kooperatiba sa transportasyon ay isinasagawa hanggang ngayon sa buong bansa. Maliban sa sector ng PUJ, nagsasagawa rin ang gobyerno ng konsultasyon sa mga operaytor at grupo ng Trucks for Hire (TH).
4. Hindi korporasyon ang makikinabang kundi mga:
– Local manufacturers na mag-didisenyo ng units
– Pilipinong manggagawa na magkakaroon ng trabaho at gagawa ng mga sasakyan
– Drivers at operators na lalaki na ang kita, uunlad pa ang industriya
– COMMUTERS na matagal nang nagtiis sa luma, hindi ligtas, at hindi komportableng public transportation units
5. Hindi anti-poor ang #PUVModernization Program.
Malaking bahagi ng Modernization Program ang Financial Scheme para sa drivers at operators. Sa tulong ng gobyerno, nasa 6% lamang ang interest rate, 5% naman ang equity, at aabot sa 7 taon ang repayment period. Magbibigay rin ng hanggang PHP80,000 na subsidy ang gobyerno sa kada unit para makatulong sa down payment.
Bukod dito, tandaan natin na ginhawa at kaligtasan ng mahihirap ding commuters ang hangad ng programa.
6. Walang phase out. Mananatili ang mga jeep sa kalsada. Pero sa pagkakataong ito, bago at modern na.
ANO ANG TOTOO?
Hindi na ligtas ang mga lumang PUVs sa Pilipinas. Takaw-aksidente na, polusyon pa ang dala. Hindi komportable at hassle sa mga commuters. Ang totoo, matagal na dapat itong ipinatupad. PANAHON NA PARA SA PAGBABAGO SA KALSADA.”
It was my first time to travel to Vietnam and so the opportunity to take photos of the international airport at Ho Chi Minh City presented itself. I wanted to see for myself how the terminal compared to Manila’s considering other airports in the region such as Changi, Kuala Lumpur and Suvarnabhumi are definitely better than NAIA.
View of the tarmac from our tube after we disembarked from our aircraft
The airport had a linear layout similar to NAIA’s Terminals 2 and 3, and so we had to walk some distance to the immigration counters. The moving walkway was functioning well and speeded up our walk.
Descending from the second level after clearing immigration, you get this view of the baggage claim area. Frankly, it reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own baggage claim area.
The view of the bottom of the stairs
The baggage claim area was as spacious at that level
Another photo of the baggage claim area. After clearing customs and exiting to the arrival lobby, you can change currencies at the many banks offering these services or perhaps purchase an item(s) at the shops.
The taxi stand is along the terminal driveway where you can also wait for an Uber or Grab car. Ridesharing/ridehailing apps Uber and Grab are very popular in HCMC and are definitely cheaper than getting a cab so this option is highly recommended for travelers.
The arrival area is spacious and features several outdoor cafes/restaurants
Here is one cafe beside the aircraft departure and arrival information boards
Another cafe, this one near the taxi stand